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Tax Trap #3 -- IRS Penalties, Interest and Love Letters


As a small business owner or self-employed person,one of the easiest ways to keep Uncle Sam off your backand out of your life is to file your forms, payments andother paperwork on time.

Over the next four months there are several key datesthat you dare not forget! Here they are -- all in one place,along with links to the IRS website PDF file for thatparticular form, where appropriate.

NOTE: This article only addresses federal tax deadlines.Be sure to contact your state's tax department for theirdue dates.

Also, the calendar is adjusted for Saturdays, Sundays andfederal holidays, because if a due date falls on a Saturday,Sunday, or federal holiday, then the due date is moved tothe next business day.

JANUARY:

Tuesday, Jan. 18

Personal

If you pay quarterly estimated income tax payments,it's time to make the fourth-quarter payment for 2004via Form 1040-ES.http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040es.pdf

Business

If you have employees, you must make the federal payrolltax payment for December 2004 by today (assuming you areon the monthly deposit schedule).

You use Form 8109 (found in the little yellow couponbook) or the IRS Electronic Federal Tax Payment System(EFTPS).

Monday, January 31

Business

4th quarter and year-end payroll tax returnsare due by January 31 of the following year.

Here's an overview of the 4 most common federalpayroll-related forms due today:

1. Form W-2 (for your employees) http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw2.pdf

If you mail the W-2's, the postmark must be on or beforeJanuary 31, 2005.

You may also be a recipient of a W-2 (if you work asan employee for someone else), so don't give your employer a hard time unless the W-2 is postmarked,or delivered in person, later than January 31.

2. Form 941 (for payroll tax)http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f941.pdf

3. Form 940 (for unemployment tax)http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f940.pdf

4. Form 1099-MISCIf you paid any independent contractors at least $600in 2004, you must send each one a 1099 by January 31.http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1099msc.pdf

Tip: if the independent contractor is a corporation,you usually don't have to issue a 1099. The main purposeof the 1099 is to track payments to Sole Proprietors,i.e. unincorporated self-employed people.

FEBRUARY:

Tuesday, Feb. 15

If you have employees, you must make the federal payrolltax payment for January 2005 by today (assuming you areon the monthly deposit schedule).

Monday, February 28

If you prepared any W-2's or 1099's (mentioned above),today is the deadline for sending a copy of thoseforms to the IRS.

Form W-3 is sent to the Social Security Administration,along with Copy A of any Forms W-2 you issued.http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw3.pdf

Form 1096 is sent to the IRS, along with Copy A of anyForms 1099-MISC you issued.http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1096_04.pdf

MARCH:

Business

Tuesday, March 15

Today is a big day if your business is a corporation.

Form 1120 -- the annual corporate income tax returnfor regular "C" corporations.http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1120.pdf

Form 1120S -- the annual corporate income tax returnfor "S" corporations.http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1120s.pdf

Form 7004 -- if you can't file Form 1120 or 1120Sby today, here's a tip: just file Form 7004 byMarch 15 and you are granted an automatic,no-questions-asked 6-month extension of timeto file the return (i.e. until Sept. 15, 2005)http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f7004.pdf

Form 2553 -- if you want your corporation tobe treated like an "S" corporation for thefirst time, today is the deadline for tellingthe IRS that you want to be an "S" corp beginningwith calendar year 2005.http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f2553.pdf

Also, If you have employees, you must make the federalpayroll tax payment for February 2005 by today(assuming you are on the monthly deposit schedule).

APRIL:

Friday, April 15

Ah, yes, the most famous tax deadline of all.

Form 1040

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040.pdf

And if you are a Sole Proprietor, don't forget that you mustfile several business-related tax forms with your Form1040.

The most commonly used tax forms for the self-employedperson include:

Schedule C (to report your business income and expenses)http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040sc.pdf

Schedule SE (for self-employment tax)http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040sse.pdf

Form 4562 (to deduct equipment and other depreciableproperty)http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4562.pdf

Form 8829 (to deduct a home office)http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8829.pdf

Need more time to prepare your personal tax return?Go no further than Form 4868, which grants an automaticno-questions-asked 4-month extension to file the return.http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4868.pdf

NOTE: this is only an extension of time to file the return,not an extension to pay any tax due. So if you thinkyou might owe, it may be wise to estimate what you oweand send in a payment with Form 4868; otherwise you mayhave to pay extra in late payment penalties and interest.

Form 1065

If your business is a Partnership or Limited LiabilityCompany (LLC), today is also your lucky day to file theannual business income tax return -- via Form 1065.http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1065.pdf

Form 8736

To get an automatic 3-month extension of time to fileForm 1065, file Form 8736 on or before April 15.http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8736.pdf

As if April 15 wasn't already painful enough, it's alsothe deadline for the first quarter estimated tax paymentfor Year 2005:

Personal -- Form 1040-ES.

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040es.pdf

Corporate -- Form 1120-W

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1120w.pdf

And if you're an employer, yup, it's time for yet anothermonthly federal payroll tax deposit -- for March 2005.

MAY:

Monday, May 2

Form 941 is due for the 1st quarter 2005.http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f941.pdf

Form 940 federal unemployment tax deposit is due today,if your first quarter liability exceeds $100.

Had enough? OK, OK. I'll stop here.

That should get you through the first four months ofthe year.

For more tax resources, here's a few more links:

Looking for a federal tax form?http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/index.html

Looking for a state tax form?http://taxes.yahoo.com/stateforms.htmlhttp://www.taxadmin.org/fta/link/forms.html

IRS Website for Small Business & the Self-Employedhttp://www.irs.gov/smallbiz

Wayne M. Davies is author of 3 tax-slashing eBooks forthe self-employed, available separately or as a 3-volumeset, "The Ultimate Small Business Tax Reduction Guide".http://www.YouSaveOnTaxes.com/ultimate-guide

To get your free copy of Wayne's 25-page report,"How To Instantly Double Your Deductions" visit:http://www.YouSaveOnTaxes.com


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